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ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department consolidated its coverage areas Monday morning, going from nine police districts to six.

Police Chief Sam Dotson said the previous system was more than 50 years-old and did not adequately represent present-day St. Louis. In the early 1960s, there were more residents and more police officers, and crime trends have since shifted.

Under the old format, Dotson said some districts were being overworked while others underutilized. The chief said the new way of doing things is designed to spread the police work evenly among the districts. With this new rollout, 28 additional officers are available for hotspot policing in each district.

Approximately 850 officers have been reassigned to new districts, and the department's computers and radio system had to be reprogrammed.

The police officers union is cautiously optimistic about the new system. The union business manager said Chief Dotson has been forthcoming about the switch, and no members have complained about the transition.

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